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Timeless Style – The White Tee

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All too often in men’s fashion, we find ourselves entwined within the nuances of the moment, caught in that whirlwind of trends that can often leave us dazed and confused and wondering which we to turn.

Fashion has a nasty habit of throwing everything at us whether we like it or not, leaving us no escape route in to quieter realms as we battle the maelstrom of trends that pop up on blogs, streets and stores throughout the globe.

Thankfully, while it’s always good to be a part of the fashion zeitgeist, when it does all become a bit too much we can always turn to classic styles to help save the day.

Style is like our trusty wingman, there in a crisis and always on hand to give you a push in the right direction, have your back when the chips are down. Style is the colour black; style is a good pair of jeans; style is the plain white t-shirt.

Oh the plain white t-shirt, where would we be without this classic piece of sartorial garb?

whitetee 001

The white t-shirt covers such an array of sartorial genres I defy any man who says they do not have one in their wardrobe; from rock rebels (The Clash, Richard Hell) to film stars (James Dean and Marlon Brando made the white t-shirt an iconic piece of menswear) to footballers (David Beckham) and authors (Kerouac and his pivotal classic On The Road) the white t-shirt is without doubt a timeless piece of fabric that should take pride of place in all our wardrobes.

The beauty of this humble garment comes in its simplicity and diversity; team it up with a pair of jeans and Converse hi-tops, wear it under a chunky winter cardigan, don the white tee with your slim cut suit and a pair of brogues for that contemporary look, it doesn’t matter where you are, who you are with or what you are wearing, the white t-shirt is without question one of the most important aspects of your wardrobe.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at how this simple yet elegant item of clothing can add such joy to the rest of our wardrobe.

Outfit 1: Contemporary Chic

whitetee 002

When the words classic and elegant are used in fashion parlance, you may as well tag the word Parisian on the end. Renowned for their understated style, suave sophistication and a nod towards timeless clothing rather than trend led design, the plain white tee could have been invented for those uber chic Frenchmen.

French brand such as Sandro, A.P.C and Saint Laurent show just how easy it is to make the white t-shirt a key feature in your everyday wears and how effective it can be teamed up with an otherwise all black outfit. Not only does this look smart, it also gives off an air of contemporary fashion merged with classic tailoring to make a perfect outfit.

crew neck teeshoulder wool coatwide lapel jacket

churchs leather brogueselasticated woven beltleather card holder

Outfit 2: Rebel Rebel

whitetee 003

Whether it was James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause, Marlon Brando in the Wild One or River Phoenix in Stand By Me, the plain white tee may look like an innocent bystander but it has always been synonymous with the rebel, the outsider, the rock’n’roller.

With the sleeves rolled up for that cocky, youthful look and teamed up with a leather jacket, black skinny jeans and converse hi-tops, the white t-shirt is fit to grace the backs of film stars and musicians the world over. And as its winter, get those black gloves and beanie hat on to give it that little extra rebellious edge.

white high roll teeblack super jeansleather bomber jacket

fisherman beanie hatconverse optical whitedents driving gloves

Outfit 3: The Classic

whitetee 004

When James Bond’s wearing your polo shirts and J.W Anderson is your Creative Director, you know you are doing something right.

British brand Sunspel have been producing the finest Egyptian cotton t-shirts since the mid 1800’s and to this day manufacture those fine white tees in their Nottingham based factory.

A quintessential piece of traditional British craftsmanship, this is very much a true gentleman’s t-shirt and thus should be worn with attire that matches its grandeur sartorial status.

sunspel cotton teeshawl neck cardiganwashed black chinos

leather chelsea boots150 series wristwatchnatural leather briefcase

Conclusion: Be it the depths of winter or the height of summer, the transcendent nature of the white t-shirt ensures it will always be an enduring example of mens style. I cannot think of another item of clothing which so typically personifies both the image of classic, city gents and young, cocksure rebels all in one fell swoop; this t-shirt has sauntered down the sun bleached streets of Monte Carlo, it has fought on the mean streets of New York, it has appeared in some of the most iconic films of all time and strutted across stages in front of a global audience of millions.

Leather jackets, tailored suits, ripped skinny jeans, chino, loafers, brogues or biker boots, it doesn’t matter what you wear it with, the white t-shirt goes with anything and everything.

Yes we know it may be cold outside but when you get in to the pub or restaurant, suave cocktail bar or sweaty gig venue, you’ll always feel good knowing that white t-shirt rests with pride across your shoulders.

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Robbie Canale
Robbie Canale

Robbie Canale is a freelance writer and stylist with a passion for football and fashion, two genres he knows should never go together! He has contributed to publications including Harper's Bazaar Arabia, GQ Dubai and Pickles football magazine.

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